If you haven’t noticed already, we here at Inphantry are a bunch of gamers. We had a PS4 Pro and PSVR in our office almost faster than Amazon prime could deliver it. We post embarrassing videos of each other while we play Vive games. (Looking at you, Cam.) And most of all – every June we get heavily distracted by the massive info dump that is the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3.
If you’re unfamiliar, E3 is the annual convention where the world’s biggest gaming brands come together to show off and reveal their latest projects. This means the latest in games, new IPs, fan service, and of course – hardware. This year in particular, hardware has played a unique role as Microsoft announced their new console: Xbox One X.
Xbox One X is toted as the “Most Powerful Console Ever”, with a custom 8-core AMD processor, 12GB of GPU Memory, and a slew of other impressive tech specs all packed into a compact box for $499. Microsoft emphasized the hardware’s ability to play games from the whole Xbox family in “True 4K”, a key feature that separates it from its biggest competitor, the PS4 Pro. While Xbox One X has already become one of the most-talked about topics of this year’s conference, many are wondering: Who is the Xbox One X for?
While the console is uber powerful, it does not have any true exclusives thanks to Microsoft’s “Play Anywhere” program. All of the exclusives coming to Xbox One X are also playable on Window 10, hmmm. Many PC users are already enjoying 4K gaming and have rigs more powerful than Xbox One X (check out our latest PC build here), so it’s really not for current PC players. The new console is also $100 more expensive than the PS4 Pro, despite Xbox’s Phil Spencer disagreeing that Xbox One X will compete with the PS4 Pro. With that in mind, it doesn’t necessarily seem like Xbox One X is for console players either. This leaves us to wonder – What is more important: Technology or Experience?
Microsoft can tote all of their 4K capabilities, teraflops, and Dolby Atmos compatibility; but what about unique and more importantly, fun gaming experiences?
Sony brought out big guns with their God of War reboot and Insomniac’s Spiderman, relying on stories and gameplay that fans have been dying for. Nintendo unveiled gameplay of the highly anticipated Super Mario Odyssey and unveiled new cooperative games based around Kirby and Yoshi, reinforcing Nintendo’s love for multiplayer and timeless characters. Neither of the gaming giants revealed new hardware, with the PSVR and Nintendo Switch taking off since their launch last year.
Here at Inphantry, we don’t just care about gaming – we want to build engaging and unforgettable experiences. We love technology, but we don’t ever put it first and foremost if it isn’t the best way to craft an experience. When we see a piece of hardware like Xbox One X, it makes us wonder what was more important for Microsoft: the technology or the experience?
Take PSVR for example: Sony saw a need and want for consumer virtual reality, specifically in the gaming space. They came out with a cost-effective headset that is compatible with other hardware users probably owned. The headset wasn’t trying to directly compete on resolution with the HTC Vive or become the industry leader in virtual reality. The purpose of PSVR is to provide consumers a tool to engage in experiences they would otherwise have no access to. And this is where Microsoft has failed with Xbox One X. (PS: You can check out our first impressions of PSVR here.)
No doubt the tech revealed at E3 2017 is impressive, but what gets us most excited are all of the groundbreaking experiences that won’t necessarily need to be played in true 4K or rely on teraflops.
Sidenote: If somebody knows what a teraflop is, please let Trevor know on Twitter.